Pastor Joe Miller IV
Testimony: a formal or written statement giving evidence or proof as to the truth of a matter.
By definition, the Bible is the testimony of life - from Creation in Genesis 1:1 to the purpose of Creation in Revelations 4:11. From the deficiency of man in Romans 3:23 to the cause of Christ in John 3:16-17. The Bible testifies of itself and its purpose in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Also, in Romans 15:4, these written testimonies (the Bible) were given through the inspiration of God for our learning so that the child of God would grow and mature and be a little more like Christ today than yesterday, that our eyes would be more open to His will.
Pastor Marc has been preaching the last few weeks on Hebrews 11 and faith and the testimonies of people like us who have fought the good fight of staying faithful, who have gone before us and are now ‘so great a cloud of witnesses’ - an impressive group of heroes with testimonies of what staying faithful produces.
These messages have been extremely challenging and edifying to me personally and have whet my appetite to dive deeper into this portion of scripture, knowing that scripture is to perfect and change us and understanding the importance of staying faithful. I have seen at least seven areas of caution. I need to be alert to them and exert effort to remain faithful.
1) Hebrew 10:22: Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us have confidence in Christ (salvation). Chapter 10:1-21 reinforces Jesus Christ's sacrifice and the power for the remission of sin and the boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The lack of that confidence is an enemy of faith.
2) Hebrews 10:23: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).
Let us have faith in our faith. Remember when you were young and you found yourself in situations that were fearful or hopeless, but you trusted your parents because they promised and they were faithful and when it was said and done, you wondered why you doubted. How much more can we trust the Word of God over our parents?
3) Hebrews 10:24: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.
Let us serve one another. When I consider those around me who are making a difference in people's lives, when I am loving people and serving those at church, my faith and faithfulness is definitely stronger. When we aren’t serving each other, I promise your faith will falter.
4) Hebrews 10:25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Let us be faithful to attend church regularly and encourage each other to do the same. I believe your faithfulness to a church body (HBC) is nearly as important as your faithfulness to your spouse. Your priority of church attendance directly influences the health and growth of your faith and our church. I talked with an old man on his deathbed and he had one regret, ‘I wish I would have raised my family in church.’ Don’t be that man. Attending church is not a suggestion, but a command. Be faithful to attend church.
5) Hebrews 12:1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Let us live holy. Put out of the way the things of this world that hinder us from being close and faithful to God and each other and put off the sin that so easily entangles us to become faithless. Colossians 3:5-14 is a great place to challenge this area. Guard your heart, stay clean and close to God. Stay faithful.
6) Hebrews 12:1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Let us run. Stay diligent at making a difference for the cause of Christ in your personal life and especially serving others at HBC. ‘One life will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.’
7) Hebrews 12:1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Let us be patient. The word ‘patient’ here refers to the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. In other words, it sums up the whole point to this blog. No matter what Satan throws at you. No matter what your feelings are. No matter the desires of your flesh or circumstances or trials, don’t quit. Stay faithful to the cause. Be cautious in all of these areas personally and watch us grow corporately as a church. Let us stay faithful.